Think of a talk you had with an angry client. How did you handle the situation?

Social workers meet different people. Their clients do often struggle in their lives, facing seemingly insolvable problems, and finding fault with everything around them (that is actually the reason why they need our help, and the reason why they are upset).

Overwhelmed with their  problems, they can be aggressive, angry, sad. But I do not want to discourage you–most clients will be nice, just some will misbehave. As a good social worker, however, you need to deal with that, and we wonder if you have a similar experience.


Do not argue

Good social worker would stay calm and relaxed, even if the client was angry. Clients who misbehave would not affect them in work, they would not take their behavior personally.  Our goal is to build bridges, not fences. This is the attitude you should show in your answer.

Sample answers

I try to avoid conflicts with clients, preparing for each meeting in advance. I try to listen a lot, to understand the frame of mind of the person, and to deliver my message in a most appropriate way. However, once I was doing a sensitive questionnaires with divorced women. They got angry with me at some point, because some questions were sensitive. I stayed calm and told them that they could refuse answering any question, and I stressed again that the questionnaire was anonymous. I also apologized for any inappropriate questions. It helped, and we actually finished the questionnaire.

I had to deal with angry children regularly in my previous job at school. I never argued with them, never punished them directly. I just talked to them, listened, paid attention to their needs, and I did what I could to help them find their composure. It was my job, and I understand that people are angry for a reason, and their bad behavior will not affect me in my job.

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